FileFixer busts design file corruption myths!

“Unable to open design file” is the least of your problems.

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — “Unable to open design file” is a classic error message that is known by virtually every MicroStation user. This message is often considered (incorrectly) as synonymous with design file corruption. It may surprise you to learn that this is not the case. In actual fact, the inability to open a design file is only a symptom of corruption and, ironically, it’s not even the most dangerous symptom. Wondering how that could be? … Read on.

While this error message might be the most famous evidence of file corruption, the message is obvious — it doesn’t take a genius to recognize. Most MicroStation users don’t try to continue past this error message and, therefore, don’t get themselves into further trouble. So, although this message indicates fatal file corruption, almost everyone recognizes this and FileFixer repairs the problem instantly. No big deal.

It is a big deal when a MicroStation user believes the message “Unable to open design file” represents the most common form of file corruption. By believing this, many MicroStation users are unwittingly turning a blind eye to the long list of additional forms of design file corruption that cause needless project delays and added costs.

During the past 20 years Axiom has actively enhanced the V7 version of FileFixer to recognize more than 200 categories of design file corruption. Since MicroStation V8 has not yet become as widely-used as previous versions, FileFixer for V8 is still in its infancy. Even though FileFixer for V8 recognizes more than 70 categories of file corruption, the relative “new-ness” of V8 still leaves lots of room for FileFixer to grow. Granted, 70 categories does seem like FileFixer for V8 is well into its adolescence, but there is much more ground to cover in V8 than in V7 (larger files, complex file structures, etc.). We like to think that FileFixer for V8 is still young! The V8 corruption category count is increasing rapidly, as corruption can only be fixed after it is discovered. Any one of these categories of corruption could interrupt productivity, adding time and costs to your projects.

If you are only familiar with one category of design file corruption, such as “Unable to open design file,” all of the remaining file corruption categories could be impacting your projects without your knowledge. You owe it to yourself to find out about the remaining 199 categories of design file corruption.

The following list provides just a few manifestations of design file corruption. How often do you run into these phenomena?

  • A V8 model is not selectable or won’t open.
  • Elements are unselectable, cannot be moved or deleted.
  • You find elements on undefined levels.
  • Your drawing contains lines that shoot off the edge of the design plane and cannot be selected or manipulated.
  • There is no indication of any error when you import your V7 files into V8, but you discover elements are missing in the V8 version.
  • Elements disappear when you zoom in on them.
  • The FIT command fails to include certain elements.

The preceding are all manifestations of design file corruption. Don’t fall for the belief that “MicroStation just works that way” and don’t allow your project staff to accumulate overtime hours “working around” these manifestations. Multiply the wasted hours throughout the year on all projects and you can see why “Unable to open design file” is not the most expensive form of file corruption.

Now that you know that there are many different ways a design file’s data can be damaged and there are many different manifestations of design file corruption, let’s take a closer look at the “classic” error message. By default, MicroStation/J displays the following:

The Classic MicroStation/J Error Dialog

Bentley acknowledged design file corruption in MicroStation/J as evidenced by the configuration variable MS_NOEOF_MESSSAGE. Documentation for this configuration variable states:

“If set, display the contents of this file when a “no end-of-file” error is encountered. Setting this variable also prevents the file from being opened.”

The MS_NOEOF_MESSSAGE configuration variable allows a system administrator to define a site-specific message to display when this form of design file corruption is encountered. Axiom automatically defines MS_NOEOF_MESSSAGE for owners of FileFixer for V7:

Enhanced MicroStation/J Error Dialog for FileFixer Owners

V7 Trivia Sidebar: “End of design not found” is not the only form of corruption which causes MicroStation/J to display this “classic” error dialog. See descriptions of error numbers 101 and 997 in the FileFixer User Guide.

Some MicroStation users have the misconception that the classic error message does not occur in V8. Well, here is an actual screen image to bust this myth:

The V8 Version of the Classic MicroStation Error Dialog

In fact, this and all of the manifestations of corruption listed earlier in this article apply to V8 files. Further, Axiom clients routinely report new categories of problems unique to V8 (not previously encountered with V7 files) — the list of new V8 search and repair options in FileFixer for V8 is steadily growing.

V8 Trivia: MicroStation V8 still offers the MS_NOEOF_MESSAGE configuration variable — if anyone can explain what it does, contact Axiom Support for a reward.

Don’t buy the myth that V8 files are immune to damage.

Don’t be satisfied that you’ve side-stepped the obvious “Unable to open design file” error while the majority of design file corruption categories drain project profits day after day. It’s the cumulative aggravations and delays from those “non-obvious” corruptions that are the most expensive. Be productive and profitable — get FileFixer, the only comprehensive, automated solution for design file corruption that most frequently plagues MicroStation projects.

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